A lot of us hear the term “junk drawer” and we get a sudden chill down our spine.

With good reason, too – when’s the last time you’ve really organized or tried to clean it out? Sure, it’s called a “junk drawer”, but that’s no reason to just let it build up with a bunch of crud you’re never going to need or use again. If you’ve got an out-of-control junk drawer that needs to be tamed, we’ve got a few tips to help get it back in control – or at least help you find the stuff you need when you need it!

Empty it out. We know this might sound a little counter-intuitive at first, but the best place to start with a junk drawer is to purge it of its current contents. Line your countertop with some newspaper or wax paper and spread the contents out across the whole thing. After you’re done being surprised at how much stuff you’ve managed to fit in there, it’s time for step #2!


Get rid of all the garbage. While it makes sense for anything called a “junk drawer” to inherit a lot of stuff, it’s safe to say after a while most of it becomes literal garbage. Expired supermarket rewards cards? Toss it. Dried up old lipbalm? Out it goes. Expired coupons? You’ll get another chance to save 30¢on macaroni and cheese. Anything that’s not even remotely worth keeping should go right in the trash, no matter how worried you are that you might need those expired 9-volt batteries.


Sort what’s left. Now it’s time to pick through whatever survived the purge and get everything straightened out. It helps to start with anything that can easily belong in another area instead; tweezers and nail files can go in the medicine cabinet, tiny screws or thumbtacks can really go in a toolbox or anywhere you keep art/office supplies, and so on. The rest can be considered Prime Junk Drawer Material and can be sorted by category – rubber bands go with the rubber bands, extra buttons go with the extra buttons, you get the idea.


Put it all back. Now’s the real reason why you’re here: to get everything back in the junk drawer! If your drawer is deep enough, consider sneaking a desk organizer or a storage tray in there to keep everything in its own little cubby and prevent it from getting as messy as it was last time. Or, at the very least, try to divide everything up – keep the hand lotions and bigger stuff in the back so the front can hold smaller things like batteries, glasses cleaner spray, and so on.


Don’t let it get that bad again. This is always the hardest part, but it’s worth doing – try to stay vigilant and on top of any potential messes in your junk drawer to avoid having to do this again in another six months. You’ll be thankful you did in in the long run.